No. 13 Maryland women’s basketball (18-6, B1G 10-3) begins their tough end of the season stretch on Monday night when they take on No. 22 Iowa (16-6, B1G 10-3).
“I love where our team is at right now,” head coach Brenda Frese said. “We are really stacking practices and games together, really feel like we are peaking at the right time here.”
The Terps hope to extend their winning streak to seven games to gain ground in the conference standings.
On the team’s six game winning streak, the Terps scored 70 points or more in five games while holding their opponents to an average of 59 points per game.
“I think our defense is really coming together and that’s making our offense work,” forward Chloe Bibby said, after the team’s 70-43 victory against Wisconsin on Wednesday.
Currently, Maryland is in a three-way tie for third place in the conference with No. 18 Ohio State and Iowa. No. 9 Michigan also has three losses in conference play and is in second place.
After Iowa, the Terps close out the season playing Ohio State, Michigan and No. 5 Indiana, who occupy first place. Maryland previously lost to all these teams earlier this season.
“We are all excited for the battles and the good games coming our way,” guard Katie Benzan said. “We all believe that each one we can win.”
During this critical stretch, the Terps may still be without guard Ashley Owusu who remains day-to-day with a sprained ankle as of Saturday afternoon, according to Frese.
The Terps will be facing one of the best players in the country in Iowa’s sophomore guard Caitlin Clark. Clark is the top scorer in all of Division I basketball, both men’s and women’s, averaging 27.6 points a game. Clark has also racked up five triple doubles this season and is a threat everywhere on the court.
Clark recently went viral for making logo threes in the team’s 98-90 loss to then No. 6 Michigan on Feb. 6.
“She‘s a threat when she comes across half court,” Frese said. “She can pass and rebound … collectively we are going to have to have a great defensive team effort on her.”
Clark is not the only star on the Hawkeyes. Center Monika Czinano is another prolific shooter averaging 20.3 points per game — the fifth best average in the Big Ten — while shooting 64.5% from the field.
Both Clark and Czinano have both scored double figures in every game this season for the Hawkeyes.
“I think we’re all going to take a shot at her [Clark],” Benzan said. “We just want to make her as uncomfortable as we can.”
The game will be televised on Monday at 9 p.m. on ESPN 2.